William Stanek: Internet Explorer 8, 64-bit Windows 7, and the mobile code bug

William Stanek here, talking about a scripting/programming bug that is driving me absolutely bonkers. The code bug is this:

Often when you visit web sites and are using Internet Explorer 8 on 64-bit Windows 7, you are redirected to a web page optimized for mobile browsers—and mobile browser pages aren't exactly what I call user-friendly. Most mobile browser pages provide only summary information, which is nothing like what you actually searching for.

Here are examples:

  • Visit www.etrade.com and get redirected to wireless.etrade.com
  • Visit www.intel.com and get redirected to m.intel.com
  • Visit www.sony.com and get redirected to m.sony.com

Good luck finding anything on these mobile sites...except for frustration.

To be clear, the problem isn't with Internet Explorer 8 or Windows 7. The problem is with the programming/scripting code on the many sites having this problem. The JavaScript/Java Server Pages/Whatever code is interpreting the browser information incorrectly and as a result the user is redirected to a mobile browser page instead of the normal page.

In some cases, there are workarounds for the problem. For example, if you visit us.etrade.com, you don't have this problem.

Webmasters reading this: Check your sites if you are redirecting browsers based on the browser type. The bug may be in the parsing algorithm for the USER_AGENT or elsewhere. The easiest way to test and determine if your sites are affected is to browse your site using IE8 running on 64-bit Windows 7.

For everyone else: Let's hope the code gets fixed soon as I really would like to visit my favorite web sites—and you probably do too.

Thanks for reading; time for me to get back to work! Hope you'll take a look at my new book, Windows 7: The Definitive Guide. Also just released is my book Exchange Server 2010 Administrator's Pocket Consultant.

William R. Stanek

williamstanek at aol dot com


Comments (6)
  1. Karl says:

    William,  I’m not noticing this "bug".  I’ve tried all of the sites you listed above, without issue.  I’m using Windows 7 Enterprise 64 bit and IE 8.  They are up to date with Windows Update.  

    Here’s my versions…

    IE – 8.0.7600.16385

    Win 7 – 7600.16385.amd64fre.win7_rtm.090713-1255

    Could there be a setting that is causing this behavior?


  2. Hi Karl,

    My blog posts to MS Press are sometimes delayed, as is the case here. Your not seeing it because I first blogged about this on 12/31, then again on 1/1 and again on 1/4.

    IE8 64-bit Windows 7 and the Mobile Code Bug. http://bit.ly/7OPrpy

    IE8 64-bit Windows 7 and the Mobile Code Bug (Part 2). http://ow.ly/Tqph

    IE8 64-bit Windows 7 and the Mobile Code Bug (Part 3). http://ow.ly/SG7j

    As I blogged, I saw this problem througout beta and then after release. After no luck contacting sites directly, and very tired of seeing it, I blogged about it and saw almost immediate action. Certainly gave me new faith in the power of blogging.

    Thank you,


  3. Just to confirm this was not a setting bug. The specific bug is/was related to the way the sites interpreted the browser information for 64-bit Windows 7, whether running 32-bit or 64-bit IE8, most likely a misinterpretation of USER_AGENT data. This interpretation error caused the sites to redirect users to pages optimized for mobile users, rather than show standard web pages.

    24 of 25 sites I bookmarked as well as the 3 sites I listed in the original post have all been corrected since my posts.


  4. santosh.chary@hotmail.com says:

    what could be the reason for image s not beign displayed in IE 8 running on Windows & OS

  5. renzosilv@msn.com says:

    Hello William:

    You seem to know a lot about Iexplorer and i am trying to learn about it and had a question.  I know IE opens a thread through the function OpenThread located in kernelBase.dll which in turn calls ntdll.dll.  I do not see OpenThread on the IExplorer EAT however.  Do you know how does this call happens ?  I would really appreciate any help.

  6. Will says:

    Found a few other sites that does it.



    quite annoying and inconvient

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